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Video Game / Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos

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When they said Hard to Beat!! they weren't kidding.
Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, known in Japan as Ninja Ryūkenden II: Ankoku no Jashin Ken (忍者龍剣伝II 暗黒の邪神剣) note  and in Europe as Shadow Warriors II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, is a side-scrolling Platform Game developed and published by Creator/Tecmo for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The second of the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy, was released in North America and Japan in 1990, and in Europe in 1992.
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A year has passed since the events of the first game. Ashtar, who was actually the one behind Jacquio, has learned of his minions' defeat, and plans an Evil Scheme to open up the Gates of Darkness and Take Over the World. This sets off a chain of events where Ryu Hayabusa must once again be called upon to stop the forces of Darkness and save the world.

One of the most infamously difficult games for the NES, Ninja Gaiden II basically codified Nintendo Hard along with Castlevania. Its unforgiving nature is offset by its gorgeous graphics which hold up even today, truly innovative use of cut scenes — similar to its predecessor — and that bangin soundtrack.

Not to be confused with Ninja Gaiden II (2008).


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Tropes used in this work include:

  • Alien Sky: As Ryu approaches the gate to the Realm of Chaos, he's greeted by an eerie violet sky with strange stars hanging too close to the surface.
  • All There in the Manual: The names of the bosses and what they're supposed to be, for one.
  • Attack Drone: The Shadow Clones from, which follow in Ryu's footsteps precisely and attack when he does, at no cost. He can have up to two clones out at a time.
  • Back from the Dead: Irene after being sacrificed for Jacquio's goal. She gets resurrected by the Dragon Sword's magic in the ending.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: After beating the first boss, Dando the Cursed, Ryu meets a mysterious operative who pulls a gun on him. Before Ryu can react, the man fires a shot...to finish off Dando, who Ryu hadn't quite finished off.
  • BFS: The titular Dark Sword of Chaos is just gigantic, yet Ashtar can wield it easily with one hand.
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  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Baron Spider, the second boss, summons giant tarantulas.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: "Dando the Cursed" is supposed to be "The Damned One" or "The Damned and Cursed." This one is more forgivable, given Nintendo's infamous censorship policies at the time.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: The last stages take place in the Realm of Chaos. They steadily become more organic, with pulsing organs and faces on the walls, dripping ooze, and veins running across every surface.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The Nintendo Power Strategy Guide for The Dark Sword of Chaos followed the game's story between gameplay tips and tricks as a fully drawn comic book. Ryu's encounter with Ashtar is a stand-out moment.
  • Cool Shades: Worn by Robert.
  • Damsel in Distress: Irene gets kidnapped by Ashtar.
  • Demoted to Extra: Clones of the Malice Four, the bosses of the first game, appear as powered-down mooks.
  • Dramatic Thunder: The way that Ashtar introduces himself.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: What Baron Spider used to be.
  • Evil Counterpart: As far as the NES games go, it's explicitly stated that the Dark Sword of Chaos is this to the Dragon Sword, having been forged from a demon's bone as opposed to a dragon's fang.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Both the Tower of Lahja, and later the gate to the Chaos Realm.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Baron Spider, who Was Once a Man.
  • Hellgate: A recursive example: an evil-looking tower with a demonic skull for an entrance, which leads to the antechamber of the Realm of Chaos. And inside that, an altar upon which the actual gates can be opened.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Not only is it heavily implied that Robert died while he held the line to protect Ryu's back, but the Dragon Sword itself makes a sacrifice to revive Irene at the end.
  • The Legions of Hell: What will pour out of the Gate of Darkness to the Realm of Chaos if Ashtar's ritual is completed. Many foes in the games already hail from there.
  • Locomotive Level: Stage 2-1 is on a train. Curiously, walking into the end car takes you to a windy mountaintop.
  • Mask Power: Ashtar wears a smooth, faceless metal mask with only thin slits for eyes...or maybe the eyes are part of the mask?
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Funky Dynamite, a man-sized mutant lizard cyborg with a jetpack and plasma guns.
  • Obstructive Foreground: Infamously, one of the things that makes this game so damn hard.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Robert T. Sturgeon is a devoted follower of this philosophy.
  • Sword Beam: The Dark Sword of Chaos can shoot off what looks like ball lightning.
  • Womb Level: The Realm of Chaos, as mentioned above. It's incredibly visceral for an 8-bit game, too.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Robert's battle against the demons.

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